Graphic Design A.A.S. Degree

Graphic Design A.A.S. Degree

Graphic Design students are required to purchase an Apple Macintosh laptop with the Adobe Creative Cloud software. See latest requirement through bookstore website.

Career Description

A graphic designer is a creative problem solver who is trained to conceive, plan, and execute a design that communicates a direct message to an audience in an imaginative and visually arresting manner. Effective visual communication requires a graphic designer to communicate ideas and information in ways that will get the attention of and motivate a viewer. Ideas are generated through a design process in which graphic designers research, organize, and interpret the information; define the objectives; originate ideas; and create new visual forms. New and constantly evolving computer and communication technologies further challenge the role of the graphic designer in creating imaginative and clear messages for vastly different audiences. Meeting this challenge requires use of the best media tools for development and delivery of ideas and information: print, photography, packaging, logos, publications, the internet, film, television, and animation.

Program Information

Graphic Designers are a key component in promoting people, corporations and products to consumers. We work in many areas from print/production design, website/social media design, motion graphics and animation design. Designers go through a process of conception, creation and communication of visual effects in all aspects of advertising. We offer instruction using the latest in today’s technology and innovative techniques for this career field. We help connect students to challenges of exciting, creative, and rewarding career opportunities. We “Design It.” In the Graphic Design Program, students will take visual ideas from initial concept through creative and technical development and, ultimately, to a final form that is ready for production. Various tools are used, from hand tools for sketches to the latest computerized aids. We focus on projects modeled with industry realities, relevant to high-impact, effective communication.

Program Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • Select appropriate software tools to achieve effective design solutions;
  • Communicate design concepts at various stages of development using the design process;
  • Develop print and multimedia concepts using traditional, computer-based, and video design tools;
  • Develop and present creative portfolios verbally and in writing to clients;
  • Interact with clients, marketing personnel, copy writers, web designers, photographers, and printing companies; and
  • Demonstrate a respect for diversity of ideas and concepts in a group environment.

Special Program Requirements

In addition to the program requirements listed above, students must meet the following conditions in order to graduate:

  1. College Cumulative GPA Requirement: The cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at CLC must be at least 2.0;
  2. College Technical Core GPA Requirement: The cumulative GPA of credits attempted and completed towards the technical core of the diploma or degree must be at least 2.0; and
  3. Residency Requirement: students must complete 25% (15) of their credits at Central Lakes College.
  4. Graphic Design students are required to purchase an Apple Macintosh laptop with the Adobe Creative Cloud software. See latest requirement through bookstore website.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:
Salary information from

Program Course Requirements

Required Discipline Courses
GDES 1105 Concepts of Design, 3 cr
GDES 1120 Publication Design, 3 cr
GDES 1122* Graphic Design Production, 3 cr
GDES 1124 Corporate ID, 3 cr
GDES 1134 Typography, 3 cr
GDES 1140 Adobe Photoshop, 3 cr
GDES 1142 Adobe Illustrator, 3 cr
GDES 1144 Adobe InDesign, 3 cr
GDES 2100* Graphic Design I, 3 cr
GDES 2102* Graphic Design II, 3 cr
GDES 2113* Art Direction, 3 cr
GDES 2120* Packaging, 3 cr
GDES 2124 Portfolio Production, 3 cr
GDES 2130 Motion Graphics I, 3 cr
GDES 2132 Designs in Social Media, 3 cr

An A.A.S. degree requires a minimum of 15 credits selected from at least three of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC). Students are encouraged to select courses from the following list:
ARTS 1401 Black and White Photography I (Goal 6), 3 cr
ARTS 1403 Color Photo I (Goal 6), 3 cr
ARTS 1425 Introduction to Graphic Design (Goal 6), 3 cr
ARTS 1458 Drawing (Goal 6), 3 cr
ARTS 1468 Painting (Goal 6), 3 cr
COMM 1420 Interpersonal Communication (Goal 1), 3 cr
COMM 1450 Introduction to Mass Communication (Goals 2,9), 3 cr
ENGL 1410 Composition I (Goal 1), 4 cr
ENGL 1422 Practical Writing (Goal 1), 3 cr
PHIL 1421 Critical Thinking (Goals 2 and 9), 3 cr
PHIL 2420 Ethics (Goals 6 and 9), 3 cr
SOCL 1401 Introduction to Sociology (Goals 2,5), 3 cr

*Denotes Prerequisites


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